Beginning in 2007 Meyer Civil Engineering, Inc. was awarded multiple contracts from the City of Bakersfield to provide design development, construction documents, and construction assistance for this 1.5-mile walking park along the Kern River Island Canal in Downtown Bakersfield. This park stretches from 24th Street at the north end to California Avenue on the south. Incorporated within the linear park is Central Park, featuring a handicap accessible playground area, a covered bridge, fenced pond with aerators, restroom facilities, and plenty of grassy, tree-shaded lawn areas. The Sister Cities Gardens on either side of 18th Street feature gardens representing five of Bakersfield's Sister Cities, a fountain and shade structures. At 17th Street, the Mill House with its garden and patio area was finished and opened in July of 2013. The focal point of the house is a working waterwheel providing for the Mill House's electrical needs.
The Mill Creek Linear Park Project is definitely the biggest project that Meyer Civil Engineering has done to this day. It was both enjoyable and challenging and the finished product was worth the time and thought put into the project.
The Mill Creek Linear Park has received multiple awards and commendations including...
There are multiple features which were designed into the Mill Creek Linear Park. To learn more follow a link below.
The northern portion of Mill Creek Linear Park, which includes Central Park, is Located Downtown between R Street and V Street from 24th Street to 17th Street.
The southern portion is east of P Street (or Q Street) from the railroad tracks to California Avenue.
606 21st Street, Bakersfield, California 93301, United States
With a three-week window of opportunity for phase 1 (Central Park) in winter of 2007 and phases 2-5 (24th St. to 21st St, 19th St. to 17th St., and the Amtrak Station to California Ave.) in winter of 2008, construction crews descended on the Kern Island Canal, cleaned up the canal base, reshaped, relined and restructured the canal to create the water element for Mill Creek Linear Park. MCE staff were available for construction assistance 24 hours a day during these time periods.
Located between 19th and 21st Streets in downtown Bakersfield, Central Park was reinvigorated with the addition of the aerated pond, the covered bridge, new restroom facilities, new handicap accessible playground, walking/riding paths, and other park amenities. Diseased and decaying trees were removed giving the park a lighter and more welcoming demeanor for area residents. The canal was widened to open up a pond area which has become home to several variety of waterfowl. The bridge has become a backdrop to many of the resident's special events, such as wedding and graduation photos. New lighting, seating, and water fountains were also added. Electrical outlets and WiFi reception were installed enabling a return of community events to the park.
Located in Central Park, Mill Creek Bridge is the most recognizable of the bridges in the linear park. Designed by Aaron Meyer, it was prefabricated using square steel tubing and placed on prepared supports. The covering was completed using conventional wood construction in the style of traditional covered bridges. Between California Avenue and the Amtrak Station, there are also three pedestrian bridges linking the newly residential east side of the canal to the primarily commercial west side of the canal. At 17th Street a combination vehicular and pedestrian bridge crosses the canal linking the Hill House Hotel and Mexicali Restaurant on the west with the Hill House Hotel and the park's Mill House on the east. These four concrete bridges were precast and brought to site then finished with a rock facade, pressed and colored concrete paving, and wrought iron safety railings. The final bridge is the vehicular bridge spanning the canal at 18th street replacing an existing culvert. This bridge is finished with rock facade, wrought iron safety railing, and paving for vehicular traffic.
Three weirs were added to the Kern Island Canal to regulate the flow of the water and provide a means of leveling the water in the canal. This allows the water levels to remain within a consistent range and allows for features like aerators in the canal. Keeping levels consistent helps maintain the water supply feeding the flume for the Mill House's waterwheel. Weirs were constructed during the three week windows while the canal was closed for maintenance. Each panel was designed to meet specific sizes for transport to the site, and construction elements for each panel was strictly followed. Once on site, the panels were placed, leveled, connected, and sealed. Gates, refuse grates, and maintenance features were added to help regulate consistency in water flow and level within the canal and lake. Existing nearby culverts were also modified to help the water's path run more efficiently through the canal. Central Park and California Avenue weirs are semicircular. The weir at 17th Street is L-shaped.
Early in Bakersfield history, a mill house stood on the bank of the Kern Island Canal, grinding grains into flour and meal. The Mill House is designed to echo that historic heritage. One of the highlights of the Mill House is the working waterwheel generating the electrical needs of the facility. You can view the interior workings of the waterwheel's generator from the interior through the glass-partitioned doors. Heavy timber beams and rafters, as well as a unique stair case, and second-floor railings echoing the Mill Creek emblem, gives the building a sense of the original mill house. The view of the linear park from the second story is spectacular. The Mill House has it's own courtyard and garden area. Immediately adjacent to the Mill House is one of the bridges where you can easliy watch the waterwheel in motion.
Bakersfield's Sister Cities are represented in this area of the linear park at 18th Street. The gardens honoring the cities of Bucheon, South Korea, Cixi, China, and Wakayama, Japan are showcased on the south side of 18th Street. The gardens honoring the cities of Amritsar, India, and Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico are located along the north side of 18th Street. Each garden features unique plants and structures that represent the city and/or region. Within the Sister City Gardens are a fountain and several covered areas, one with a raised platform perfect for community gatherings.
Throughout the duration of the project we had the pleasure to work directly with Ralph Braboy who was a fellow Civil Engineer and Project Manager for the City of Bakersfield Public Works Department during the project. Ralph was a kind-hearted man who made a huge contribution to the success of the Mill Creek Linear Park. We incorporated many of his ideas into the design and he would give us his input on our design. He worked hard to ensure the vision of the Mill Creek Linear Park was brought to fruition. It was always enjoyable when Ralph would walk into the door of Meyer Civil Engineering with his friendly smile, quiet, kind and relaxed demeanor.
On February 16, 2016, the Lord called Mr. Braboy home after a hard-fought battle with cancer. We will miss him and always appreciate the good man that he was as well as look forward to seeing him again in Heaven.
In the picture Ralph Braboy (far right), Richard Meyer (2nd from the left) and Aaron Meyer (far left) are receiving the ASCE Region 9 Award for the 2012 Outstanding Community Improvement Project on March 6, 2016.